In this tutorial we will show you how to quickly create a seamless panorama image by stitching several photos together using the Photomerge tool in Photoshop CS5 which is available on every computer in the MPS Lab.
The first step is to shoot your photos. Some tips:
- Images should overlap by approximately 40%. If the overlap is less, Photomerge may not be able to automatically assemble the panorama. However, keep in mind that the images shouldn’t overlap too much. If images overlap by 70% or more, Photomerge may not be able to blend the images. Try to keep the individual photos at least somewhat distinct from each other.
- If you use a zoom lens, don’t change the focal length (zoom in or out) while taking your pictures.
- Although Photomerge can process slight rotations between pictures, a tilt of more than a few degrees can result in errors when the panorama is assembled. Using a tripod with a rotating head helps maintain camera alignment and viewpoint.
- Try not to change your position as you take a series of photographs, so that the pictures are from the same viewpoint. Using the optical viewfinder with the camera held close to the eye helps keep the viewpoint consistent. Or try using a tripod to keep the camera in the same place.
- Avoid using the flash in some pictures and not in others. The blending features in Photomerge helps smooth out different exposures, but extreme differences make alignment difficult. Some digital cameras change exposure settings automatically as you take pictures, so you may need to check your camera settings to be sure that all the images have the same exposure.
Once you have the photos that you would like to stitch into a panorama, you are ready to assemble your project in Photoshop CS5.
- Go to the File Menu > Automate > PhotoMerge. Once the Dialog Box comes up, press Browse and select your photos (you can select all of them at once by holding down the Command key and selecting all of them).
- Once the photos are loaded make sure that Blend Images Together is selected. Unless you know you are using a pro quality lens you should select Vignette Removal and Geometric Distortion Correction as well.
- Now you are ready to create the stitch. The Auto mode selection on the left will do a good job for a simple horizontal panorama. Cylindrical Mode can work better for very wide panoramas. Now press okay and let Photoshop perform its magic.
- Once Photoshop is done processing you should see an almost complete panorama.
- You may notice that there is some blank space on the top and bottom of the image: this is due to the input images being slightly off-center probably because a tripod wasn’t used to level them. A quick fix is to simply crop around the useable portion of the panorama. To do so, first merge the layers Photoshop created (each layer corresponds to a section from the input image) by clicking on the Layer menu and selecting Merge Layers.
- Then select the crop tool in the toolbar or press C on the keyboard.
- Now click and drag the crop tool from one corner of the panorama to the other. Then adjust the crop to only encompass the useable portions.
- You can zoom in to fine tune the crop by pressing Command + on the keyboard or using the Zoom Slider in the Navigator window on the right.
- Once the crop is fine tuned, press Enter to perform the crop. Now you should have a very cool panorama!